A Blade in the Dark…Chapter Fifteen…unedited…

Tammy Bowen had given us the results, Manson and Rankin, along with Tomas and Wiggins, would arrest and bring Timothy Laskin and Michael Hendricks. All I needed to do was get Lilly into the car, so we could head back to the precinct. 

I found her in the office with Tammy. She held the test results in her hand, her eyes wet, trying to make sense of what she saw. 

“Are you ready, Lilly?”

“Yeah, let’s go.”

We left the morgue, and I drove us to the precinct. The sun had set behind dark clouds, it looked as if a storm would blow up any second now. I parked, and we walked across the skywalk together. Beth Hendricks, sat in the Murder Room with Manson and Rankin. Her tears it seemed, had not abated at all. If anything, her tears had multiplied. She stood and pointed a shaking finger at me and Lilly.

“You! You are supposed to find my daughter’s killers! Not arrest my husband on some phony charges!”

Lilly walked up and handed Beth the test results. She tapped the result that showed Michael had raped his own daughter. Beth sat down, and her tears began anew. Lilly said nothing and walked away.

“Both suspects are in interview room #1,” Rankin said. 

“Thanks, Rankin. I’m gonna grab a cup of coffee, before I go sit with the wicked.”

“They’re wicked. The dad didn’t even resist. When we arrested him, he gave us a cold smile. Tomas and Wiggins said the same thing about the preacher.”

The Keurig K-cup coffee machine sat in the corner of the Murder Room. Lilly had already made one cup of coffee and had a second cup brewing. She shoved the sugar toward me when I walked up.

“Are you okay, Lilly? Do you think you can handle what we’re about to discover?”

“I’m fine, Konan. You do the questioning.”

“Okay,” I said, as I shoveled sugar into my cup. “Then, let’s get started.”

Both men looked up at me and Lilly when we walked in. Timothy Laskin smiled and said, “Lawyer.” Michael Hendricks followed suit. I scoffed. Lilly walked out in the hallway and had an officer walk them to the payphone to call their lawyers. After making the calls, both men returned to the interview room. 

I sat across from them and sipped my coffee. Lilly returned to the murder room. Michael Hendricks watched me drink my coffee. Laskin looked at the table and said nothing. Twenty minutes later,  the lawyers showed up. I left the interview room and gave the attorneys some privacy. 

A quarter after six, Lilly and I were summoned to the interview room. I had Timothy Laskin taken to Interview Room #2. Michael Hendricks licked his lips and waited for my question.The attorney, a small, Asian lady with coal black hair, olive skin, and clear eyes had her notepad open, pen in hand.

“Why rape your daughter?” Hendricks stared at me, his lips pulled tight into a thin, humorless smile. 

“Who said I did?”

“You did. Well, your DNA did. It was found inside your daughter. You’re not as intelligent as I gave you credit for.”

“I didn’t rape her.”

Lilly had made more than one copy of the test results. I showed him a copy and tapped where his name was highlighted. 

“You see that right there? That’s your name. That splotch is your semen. You raped her, and the only question I have is this: Did you kill your daughter?”

Michael Hendricks leaned back in his chair, his eyes shimmered with tears, and he shook his head no. I waited for him to respond in words, but he said nothing else.

Time to go see the preacher. Well, Assistant Pastor Timothy Laskin, herald for the heavenly body. 

Lilly followed me out and to the next room. Timothy Laskin sat with his attorney. They shared a laugh, and he gave us a sardonic grin when we pulled out our chairs. His attorney, a white-haired chap, who dressed in top-tier fashion, and who had made a name for defending everything from animal right activists to terrorists.

“Good evening, detectives. Let’s get on with it, shall we?”

“Laskin, who killed Ana Marie? We know, her own mother told us, she was brought to the Assembly of Unhindered Communication for a ‘prayer of healing.’ So, who did the deed? Was it you or her dear old dad?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, and I have nothing further to say to either of you.”

“Then, we’re done here.”

Lilly and I walked out of the room and back into the murder room. We began the daunting task of trying to separate evidence from suspicions and circumstantial evidence. Alfred ‘Red’ Tomilison, lawyer for Laskin, walked into the room and over to our desk. 

“My client is suicidal. I want him placed immediately on the suicide watch list.”

Lilly looked up at Tomilison and snarked back, “So? Go report it to holding. We’re busy.”

“Yes, I can see that. Is this where you and your cohorts manufacture evidence to convict a Man of God?”

“No,” I responded. “Your client is no longer in our hands. Detectives arrested him. He was booked and placed in Holding. Our work now turns to procuring evidence against your client. Go bother someone else with your foolishness.”

“Furthermore,” Lilly added, “A real Man of God wouldn’t rape a defenseless child.”

“He didn’t, and I shall prove such in a court of law.”

“Awesome then. I can’t wait to see how you’re going to do that. I’ve always enjoyed magic tricks. Your trick is sure to be a hit.”

Lilly and I watched as the lawyer walked back toward the holding area. I wasn’t too concerned with either man escaping from the rape charges. DNA proved both had raped Ana Marie, but there still remained the question of who had killed her.

More than anything, the fact that the killer was still unknown bothered me. Something didn’t make sense, but at least we had the rape figured out. It was only a matter of time before we nailed the murderer to the cross.

But for now, we were back at square one. We needed to brief Janko and let him know what was going on with us.

We found him in his office, his feet propped up on his desk reading the funnies. He looked over the paper at me and Lilly. Janko dropped his feet to the ground, sat up, and beckoned for us to join him. 

“Shut the door, Konan.”

I shut the door and walked over to my seat. He took a deep breath and muttered, “hit me.” Lilly said, “We’ve arrested two men, Assistant Pastor Laskin and Michael Hendricks for the rape of Ana Marie.”

“Her dad raped her? The poor child…”

“Yeah,” I said. “It’s sad. We need a warrant to enter the Assembly of Unhindered Communication.”

“For what purposes, Konan? Do you have any idea what kind of crap asking us to get involved in?”

“I think it’s where Ana Marie was killed.”

“Why do you think that?”

Lilly stared at me and raised her eyebrows. Janko’s eyes burned into mine, but I didn’t melt away. 

“Because she told us that Michael had taken her there for a ‘prayer of healing.’ I don’t think she left that building alive. The least we can do is take a look.”

“Okay,” Janko said. “I’m down to clown. What else do you want?”

“A full forensic team. I want them to be able to search the premises for blood, semen, all of it. We’re close on to finding the killer, but I’m afraid something worse is going on in this case.”

“The Feds,” Lilly muttered.

“Yeah, I think so. This is where our cases get tangled up. Chief, you may want to let them know what we’re planning to do. They need to be brought into the loop. If we move on the church without them, it’s gonna get dicey.”

“I’ll take care of it. You two go home and get some rest. I’ll take care of the warrant in the morning. Good job, both of you.”

“Thanks chief.”

We exited, and I noticed Lilly seemed to have relaxed a bit. “I could go for a hug from you, right now,” she whispered. “I’ve got one for you,” I whispered back. She bit her lip and nodded. Cases like this were tough, and for some it was deeply personal. Even those like me who managed to keep an even keel, it took a toll upon us mentally. 

All Lilly and I had was each other. This case brought us closer than we’d ever been, but I also knew that Lilly struggled with her past on this case. More than anything, she needed to see Gareth. She needed to smell his hair, hear his laugh, and hold him tight in her arms.

Ana Marie had deserved such affection, but her father had failed to protect her. He’d taken advantage of his daughter and ruined her life before she could even begin to enjoy it.

I hoped with all my might he would receive his comeuppance.

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